Sunday, 6 October 2013

Book Review: The Kingmaker's Daughter - Philippa Gregory

Synopsis - Anne Neville and her sister Isabel are daughters of the most powerful magnate in 15th-century England, the Earl of Warwick, nicknamed the 'Kingmaker'.  Ever ruthless, always plotting, in the absence of a son and heir,Warwick sets about using his daughters as pawns in his vicious political games.

Anne grows from a delightful child, brought up at the court of Edward IV and his beautiful queen, Elizabeth Woodville, in intimacy and friendship with the family of Richard, Duke of Gloucester.  Her life is overturned when her father turns on his former allies, escapes England and invades with an enemy army.  Widowed at fourteen, fatherless, with her mother locked in sanctuary, and her sister a vengeful enemy, Anne faces the world alone.

But fortune's wheel turns once again.  Anne plots her escape from her sister's house, finds herself a husband in the handsome young Duke of Gloucester, and marries without permission, in secret.  But danger still follows her.  She finds that she has a mortal enemy in the most beautiful queen of England.  Anne has to protect herself and her precious only son from the treacherous royal court, the deadly roayl rival, and even from the driving ambition of her husband - Richard III.

Review - I read The White Queen some time ago and fell in love with the beautiful Queen Elizabeth even if she comes from a family of witches or Melusina ( a spirit of the rivers).  I watched the TV series and I despised the Nevilles, I was convinced that Anne had been responsible for the deaths of the Princes even though it was inconclusive and just so in this book.  I realise that on reading this story the observer should be seeing this piece of history from Anne Neville's side of the story.  However, I cannot see her in any other light than the plotter and schemer she was, although I believe her good nature had been tainted by the continual poison she had been fed by her parents and sister and brother-in-law.  Of course, how much is actual fact and how much is fiction is difficult to say but it all leads to a decent novel.  Philippa Gregory's writing as always makes a good story with plenty going on to keep the reader interested.  One wonders how these people coped with life when they were having to continually look over their shoulder and I am thankful that times have changed and our country is not so volatile internally.  If you like historical novels then you can't get much better than Philippa Gregory.  4*

ISBN 978-0-85720-746-3

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